Linn Energy LLC (NASDAQ:LINE) and LinnCo LLC (NASDAQ:LNCO) announced that it has initiated a process to explore strategic alternatives to strengthen its balance sheet and maximize the value of the Company.

“Efficient management of our stable asset base and aggressive cost management are driving meaningful value even in today’s difficult commodity price environment,” said Mark E. Ellis, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “However, given commodity pricing pressure and the impact that market challenges are expected to have on our industry and the long-term financial outlook of our Company, we believe it is prudent to explore opportunities to strengthen our balance sheet and ensure we have adequate financial flexibility to manage through prolonged commodity price headwinds. By proactively undertaking this process now with the help of our advisors, we believe we can implement a comprehensive solution that will position LINN for long-term success.”

Ellis continued, “We have a very talented workforce, and I am proud of everything that this team has been able to accomplish. We currently have adequate resources to continue the efficient operations of our assets with the support of all our vendors, suppliers and partners while we work through these strategic alternatives.”

LINN’s Board of Directors and management are in the process of evaluating strategic and financial alternatives to help provide the Company with financial stability but no assurance can be given as to the outcome or timing of this process.  The Company does not intend to make any future announcements concerning this process unless and until the Company otherwise determines that disclosures are necessary or appropriate.

The Company has retained Lazard as its financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP as its legal advisor to assist the Board of Directors and management team with the strategic review process. Baker Botts LLP will continue to provide ongoing corporate and finance representation.

The Company recently borrowed approximately $919 million from LINN’s credit facility (“Credit Facility”), which represented the remaining undrawn amount that was available under the Credit Facility.  These funds are intended to be used for general corporate purposes. Total borrowings under the Credit Facility are now $3.6 billion.  Berry Petroleum Company LLC’s credit facility remains fully utilized at $900 million, including $250 million of restricted cash posted as collateral. (Original Source)

Shares of Linn Energy closed today at $1.00, up $0.02 or 2.23%. LINE has a 1-year high of $14.93 and a 1-year low of $0.69. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $1.21 and its 200-day moving average is $2.51.

On the ratings front, Linn Energy has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on December 18, Barclays analyst Jeffrey Robertson maintained a Hold rating on LINE, with a price target of $1, which reflects a potential downside of -16.7% from last closing price. Separately, on December 1, FBR’s Chad Mabry reiterated a Sell rating on the stock and has a price target of $1.50.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jeffrey Robertson and Chad Mabry have a total average return of 1.4% and -41.7% respectively. Robertson has a success rate of 44.0% and is ranked #1057 out of 3612 analysts, while Mabry has a success rate of 21.3% and is ranked #3602.

Linn Energy LLC is an independent oil and natural gas company. The Company’s properties are located in United States in Rockies, Hugoton Basin, California, East Texas and north Louisiana, Mid-Continent, Permian Basin, Michigan/Illinois and South Texas.